WASHINGTON, DC (7News) — It happened abruptly -- a sign appeared in the windows of the Wawa next door to the Columbia Heights Metro station, announcing it was closed.
Many customers didn't even notice the sign and learned of the closing only after grabbing locked doors.
One customer, William Jordan, noted they’d only opened a couple of years and he was surprised they were closing so soon.
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The location seemed ideal. The distance from the Metro escalator steps to the store’s door is about 20 feet, but it did not matter.
“I live a few blocks from here and unfortunately at any time, something could happen," nearby resident Terry Lynch said. “You just don’t know.”
He posted news of the stores closing on the “Nextdoor” app and received many responses of concern about safety and rampant shoplifting.
“The windows of this store were shot in January. Somebody [outside] was shooting at somebody inside,” said Lynch. “I’m afraid for my wife and daughters to come through here, because anything could happen, unfortunately, at any time.”
7News ran into a youth with a Wawa logo on his shirt and asked him the reason for the closure.
“I’m not allowed to make any statements -- just the neighborhood, different things that have occurred," he said.
While Wawa did not respond to 7News late Tuesday, Chris Donatelli, landlord for the property, said Wawa execs told him they were leaving because of problems in the neighborhood.
He said they are only four years into a 15-year lease for the property and they remain responsible for paying the lease unless they find another tenant to take it over.
In a statement, Wawa said the following : "After careful evaluation, our store at 1400 Irving St., NW, DC has closed as of Monday, June 6. All associates have been transferred to nearby locations we operate in the city. We appreciate the support of the community over the past few years and hope to continue to serve them in other locations or through our convenience services including catering and delivery."